The Armchair Liturgist: Multiple Infant Baptisms at Liturgy

armchair.jpgMy personal record on this front would be my very first day on the job as a full-time liturgist. Second Sunday of the month, and a growing parish I commenced serving had nineteen infant baptisms at its 12:30 (non-Eucharistic) liturgy. That was about twice our average, for a monthly liturgy for parents choosing not to baptize at Mass.

This past weekend, my parish welcomed eight infants to baptism at the 10:30 Mass. I put it to you armchair liturgists in the reading audience: Is that too many? If so, what is the ideal maximum the Mass can handle? I should point out my pastor is a skilled presider, and even with eight baptisms, Mass went only to a seventy-minute mark, well within toleration for our community. But what about your community? How would you handle the scheduling of multiple baptisms? Do some families feel less “special” for not having a solo or “private” rite?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Multiple Infant Baptisms at Liturgy

  1. Liam says:

    On the one hand, at an Easter Vigil, one can have as many as necessary and are timely;

    Sed contra, Easter Vigil is a once-in-a-year liturgy without the normal expectations of a Sunday mass that is but one of several Sunday Masses (even if it were the last one, which means it can drag on – the principle by which Solemn High Masses were once typically scheduled in that slot).

    * * *

    I am an thinking in threes. It’s an arbitrary but not capricious choice; there’s a lot of wisdom that human attention has a fast half life once you’re over a handful. After the third, it starts to resemble an assembly line. I don’t see that enhancing the ritual or the understanding thereof. (I probably prefer three over one, btw.) Perhaps the threes should be spread over a few Masses in a given weekend, rather than over a series of weeks at the same time.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    Be happy that the families are actually having their babies baptized. I wouldn’t get het up about how many at any given time.

  3. Be happier they are doing them at Mass. Our parish does Spanish baptisms on Saturday mornings – and 15-20 is probably average.

  4. Steve says:

    The key is you said your Assembly is tolerant of it. If they are tolerant, then keep it at a comfortable level.

    Our pastor has a rule that there are no more than two per Sunday Mass. Sure, we could handle more that that, maybe three like someone said earlier… but be glad they’re coming to Mass!

  5. Deb says:

    When our daughter was born, we had a private baptism ceremony after Mass, which was a good thing since she was colicky.
    Then when our son was born, we had the baptism during Mass because it became a “requirement” to have baptism during Mass. Over the years, I started to dread Masses at which baptisms occurred because the focus on the purpose of Mass seemed to be lost.
    With our new pastor, parents can now have baptisms after Mass and I’m noticing that they are taking advantage of it.

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